The process of creating any artwork or piece of craft for that matter can be a therapeutic process. Creating something artistic produces a sense of accomplishment and something its creator can be proud of. This is true whether the creator is a beginger or an accomplish artist. However this is not art theraphy. The term 'Art Theraphy' has been popularized by adult-colouring books. A term for this type of art is 'art for wellbeing'.
Simply through an artistic process a person may experience feelings of peacefulness, enjoyment and satisfaction. However if the person is a professional artist with a major exhibition next week, the process of creating that piece of artwork may not be so enjoyable. People take part in the process of creating art for a variety of people. If you ask 100 people why the chose to partake in art based activities you might get 100 different responses or you may get one. If you ask 100 professional artists the will tell you they create to sell. A professional seeks to make money from the skills, the trained artist even if they are self-taught is skilled in the process of creating art.
Someone from an indigenous culture might explain their art as a connect with the spiritual relationship with 'their country' or tribal land. Formal art thearphy may not produce a work of art and the person undergoing art thearphy is not an artist. Legally art produced during a therapy session can not be shown to others and thus unlikely to be seen in an art exhibition.
However artists often talk about finding their artist voice. There has long being a debate over what is art? What is craft? And what is the process of simply painting? Does it really matter anyway? The short answer is 'no'.
This is a doll I created at art school. At art school we were required to create 'art'. The face of the doll is art, the rest is very close to being 'craft', my tutor informed me. We can debate all day where the line between art and craft. Here is this post I am referring to art as being Creator by a person to evoke feelings, emotions or thought. I argue some types of craft can do that.
So a professional artists create work to evoke a reaction from their audience. Hopefully enough emotion for a person to buy it. This is what gives artist their voice. It is not something that is produce from a point of feelings of well being. Generally the work and professionalism of the visual artist is not well understood. Few of us can sell enough too put food on the table and a additional income affords our ability to create art.
The piece of artwork at the top of this post was created by an artist that works in a support art studio, even though his work appears in exhibition and sells, because he does not receive any payment, his skills and abilities are not value. Like me the artist has cerebral palsy, unlike me he has no rights to his work.
The general community see art produced by artists with a disability as a past time, an activity the do at an activity centre to fill in their day, giving the work no value. Yet because I am an automist artist I can set my own price and my work sells. I am well respect in the art community and so is my work. And now I can claim I am award winning. So my art has a voice - so pieces more that others.
I am proud of my work, not because it is therapeutic or because I am able to work as an artists despite my disability. I know when the work I produce in not up to standard and I know when I achieve something magical. I do not want people telling my imperfect art is great because I have a disability. As a professional my work is and should be judged like every other artist. If an artist is not prepared for criticism then they should put their tools away.
This week along with other artists that live with their own challenges are show off our talents. In a exhibition called 'Having Your Voice' I not quiet sure what that means. I do know we all want the public to come see our exhibition and let the art speak for itself. Good art always has its own voice.
'Having Your Voice'
Ipswich Community Gallery
24th August to 26th August
Official Opening 3 pm Saturday 25th August